Tom's guest today is the Commissioner of the Baltimore City Police Department, Michael Harrison. He was sworn into office in March, after a successful tenure as commissioner in New Orleans. That tenure continues to be credited with the sharp decline in murders and robberies in NOLA over the past three years.
A decline in murders here in Baltimore continues to be aspirational. Just this morning, our city recorded its 300th homicide for the fifth year in a row. That number includes a few deaths which were ruled homicides this year following assaults that occurred in prior years. But the stubborn and horrifying fact is that more people have been killed so far this year than at this time in 2018, and we could be on track to equal the city's near-record homicide count of 343 in 2017.
There have been some periods lasting a few weeks in which fewer people were killed in that same period in the year before, and there have been fewer robberies and burglaries than in prior years, but the rate of some other crimes, like car jackings, are up.
Crime is on everybody’s mind, including the Commissioner’s. Since being sworn-in last spring, he has reorganized his senior staff, he has made some progress on curbing overtime, and he’s launched an aggressive recruitment campaign to fill long-standing patrol shortages.
We take your calls for Commissioner Harrison a little later in the program, and welcome your Tweets and emails and your comments on WYPR's Facebook page, where this conversation was livestreamed. Watch the video here.